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PTC to deploy tarp & blanket police?

Saving your spot with a tarp or blanket for fireworks viewing and parade watching is a Peachtree City tradition.

That may soon change, however, as some last year used the privilege several days prior to the city’s annual July 4 celebration, sparking complaints from residents that have resulted in a new ordinance proposed by city staff.

The ordinance would restrict anyone from leaving a tent, blanket, tarp, stake or other personal property unattended while it is on city-owned property or right-of-way for more than an hour.

Although no citation is proposed, the new law would allow the city to confiscate any such items. The ordinance will be considered at Thursday’s 7 p.m. City Council meeting.

City spokesperson Betsy Tyler noted that last year there was a rush among some people who laid down their tarps and blankets by Friday, some five days before the parade and fireworks on the following Wednesday. That in turn led others to panic and place their blankets and tarps by the end of the weekend, Tyler explained.

“I think council got a lot of complaints on that and they asked us to look at ways to limit that in 2013 and in the future,” Tyler said.

July 4 is on a Thursday this year, meaning that if a similar weekend rush were to occur, the blankets and tarps would be out for six days ahead of the event.

The tarps in particular, combined with summer heat, can harm the grass underneath, according to a memo from city staff. The memo also cites that stakes, tables, tents and other large objects in city right-of-way creates a safety danger for drivers when they are left out overnight.

Tyler noted there were areas on the south side of Peachtree Parkway and also by Dover Square near City Hall which were “entirely covered” by the end of the weekend prior to last year’s 4th festivities.



It's about time the city does something about this. Between the blankets/tarps and burned grass, Peachtree Parkway was an eye sore for weeks. If the city is looking for volunteers to keep our city free of this mess, I'm putting my hand up!

The city is missing out on a golden opportunity. The city should consider setting up a couple of areas where they can sell spots. Charge something in the range of $50 for a reserved spot. The city could work with a civic club (Rotary, Kiwanis, Civitan, etc.) in order to set-up and tear down the spots. All the city would need is a single police officer to patrol the reserved section on July 4 in order to keep peace and deal with squatters.

I hated seeing tarps set up earlier and earlier every year. Those that set up days ahead of time are quite tacky in my opinion. I vote for no tarps until 6 pm. The city can set up a couple stations to sell food and non-alcoholic beverages, perhaps set up some activities for the kids.

The 4th of July parade and fireworks make PTC special. My family enjoys spending the day together and seeing friends throughout the day.

The city can certainly locate a top spot and sell space to those interested in paying top dollar.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

After all, if the top issues for council are chicken farmers or regulating chicken farmers and regulating tarps - how about combining the two? Not sure how, but we are certain to get an award as the best place for rednecks to live or something like that.

Love the idea of charging for a reserved space. Old idea, but still a good one. If nothing else the city would have some extra revenue to pay for all the overtime for the city workers.

Live free or die!

I wouldn't mind the city selling space for the fireworks. They can make it fair by having 10x10 spaces (or any size feasible) at a few good locations. Make people send in a full deposit with the understanding if the demand exceeds supply, the final selections will be determined in a public raffle. (Pull names out of a hat). If the city sees this demand is large, next year they can raise the cost.

I wouldn't mind the chickens. Wife went to Publix yesterday and didn't buy eggs because they were $2 a dozen. I would jump right in there and get 2-3, build a nice fenced in coupe in the back yard and teach the children how to care for them. Doubt my neighbors would care if it was maintained.

SPQR's picture

with chickens comes flies.

Would bats eat the flies?

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Chickens under tarps to keep them out of the sun, a rooster at each reserved location to sound the alarm on encroachers, bat houses built along the cart paths to control the flies. I think bats eat mosquitos as well.

We can sell advertising on the tarps or get sponsorships - sunscreen, insect spray, political candidates.

Live free or die!

SPQR's picture

then you'd have a bat dropping problem

NUK_1's picture

It's been going on for several years with the "camping out" nonsense with tarps and blankets, and I guess last year was even worse. You want a spot? Pay for it. Otherwise, your tarp or blankets might end up in the dumpster for being the absolute nuisance and self-centered jack-azzes you are.

Lived in PTC for a long time and while it's never been that pleasant dealing with the "campers" for years, it's now out of control to the point of paying to "play" isn't a bad idea if you are inundated with a bunch of morons. make them pay for their spots they want to "reserve" days in advance. This is not good at all that PTC is made up of every stereotype that others view the community as, but they are right. A bunch of self-absorbed ****

How many billions is this TARP project going to cost?
Seriously, it is about time the spot staking was stopped. Maybe change it to just the day of the parade. Anything outside of the parade day should be considered litter.

NUK_1's picture

Yeah, Star Wars' geek reference there :)

That would be the simplest solution that PTC has never been inclined to do: remove all the blankets/tarps/crap up until about noon of the 4th. Take all the stuff the goofs laid-out 2-3 days ago and donate it to Goodwill or some of the other charities in the FC area who could really use it.

The city can collect all the tarps and blankets and contact Mr. Barlow to distribute to his favorite charities.

mudcat's picture

City sells numbered permits from 1 to 10,000 and limits the tarp size (10x10 is big enough). Have to put your name and address on the permit so people can't steal your permit. Same permit is good for both the parade location after 6PM on the 3rd and the fireworks after noon on the 4th. So 1 permit gets you 2 locations and no grass is killed. $50 seems fair and that is enough money to oversee the program. You could actually sell these on the city website with minimal staff time.

Tarps without a permit or outside the time parameters are removed and persons caught in the act are fined $100.
Tarps removed by the city can be donated to those that need one. Or sold for $5.

Color of tarp needs to be pre-approved by Planning Commission (just kidding).

Ban all blankets and reserved spots till after 8am on the morning of the parade for the parade route. Anyone who wants to go to the parade, go and enjoy. IF anyone puts a reserved spot down prior to that, pick it up and (as someone suggested already) give it to a charity or dispose of it.

Anyone who saw the code enforcement staff last year, out in the 85 degree, sunny, humid weather, sweating profusely, going tarp to tarp to pull up those that had left banned items, would realize this city has not seen the last of any lawsuits if any staff keels over having to attend to the abusers. This is MILES of tarps, not just a few stragglers. Post small signs along the parkway stating the new rules the week before the parade and attach a fine to anyone who chooses to ignore them.

Do not sell any spots along the route. This event is for ALL of PTC and no preference should be given to anyone who has money to burn. Next year, move the parade to Dividend Drive for good. Then, let the civic organizations team up with the businesses along the route and decide who wants to have reserved seating for a fee. Lake Mac will be right next to the parade route, the route has more visibility for parade watchers and is flatter for the participants(no more heartbreak hill at Braelinn Rd.). The road is newly paved, wider and there is more grass along the way. Have a 4th of July afternoon picnic over at Lake Mac for all, if the county would agree.

Work with Senoia to move their Memorial Day parade to the 4th of July where it should be held. That would lessen the out of town traffic. A parade of celebration on Memorial Day? Who even thought that one up?

Until a solution for the viewing area for the fireworks is found (a minor change might help..shoot'em from a barge in the middle of the Lake Peachtree), the crowded mess will continue. Ban the blankets till 6pm. Who is going to police that? How many staff will be needed to attend to that? And quit advertising it to the world that it is going on. Those who live here know it, and that is all that matters.

secret squirrel's picture

Where is the Tea Party?!!? Look at all these people- people who have a history of steadfast conservativeness- appealing to the government to solve their problems. Talk of new regulations, enforcement, policing, buying public space rights- big government is not the answer!!! Free market, private solutions, and more gun ownership. No problem they can't solve!

mudcat's picture

Traffic control, seating, viewing, parking, security, access into and out of the city - all much better over there than in the residential areas. No businesses open, although the ones on the parade route could provide reserved seating for their employees and families. What a great idea.

There is even cart path access under 74. This is a win/win idea. And move the fireworks over there as well - right on Lake Mac - close the airport and sell admission tickets to outsiders - residents get in free. Fireworks, food trucks and facepainting. What a day!

Makes the most sense to me.

That said, I stroll outside and watch the fireworks...one of the benefits of living in SPYGLASS. :)

Isn't It Supposed To Be An Independence Day Celebration? Some of these postings are just wacky enough to be taken seriously by PTC Council. If a TARP permit becomes a reality, don't forget that our Independence came at the cost of thousands of military lives pledged to protect the Consitution (and our country) against "all enemies, foreign and domestic". Keep the parade route where the public lives, primarily along Peachtree Parkway. Gotta have a permit? Then first priority should go to our veterans, military families and those currently serving. Seniors and those with disabilities next and then the general PTC public. Any sales of refreshments should be done by local non-profits only. Enjoy the holiday and thank a veteran for the freedoms you enjoy!

Honor the vets first. We just need to stop those tacky people and their silly tarps claiming space days in advance. No tarps until 6 pm and someone must be present.

MajorMike's picture

Honor the vets first. ...... No tarps until 6 pm and someone must be present.


We stopped going to this nonsense years ago because of the ridiculous "fight" to get to see the fireworks. We go somewhere else - anywhere - to see fireworks and avoid this madness. It's so exclusive, childish and greedy. July 4 brings out the very worst of Peachtree City, collectively.

But I remember the old days when you went to an event in the city, you claimed your spot when you showed up. The tarps and blankets set up in advance have ruined the landscape in PTC. I would gladly be part of the tarp patrol and just pay me $5 for each one I collect and that would supplement my retirement income very nicely.
Wow, what are all the "so important people" going to do when they can't reserve their spots days in advance? Oh my!!!!

MajorMike's picture


NUK_1's picture

I guess I'm pretty old myself because I remember the days where there were no tarps or blankets all over the place a day(now DAYS) before the fireworks. People would go to the parade and some would head directly to the lake and get a spot and a lot of them would simply spend the day there. Now, it's mortal combat to seize some land before anyone else and more than a day in advance.

People can't control their ME ME ME ME instincts here at times.

Putting out your tarp is part of the fun! I agree that it shouldn't be done 5 days before, but if you could put it out a day or two. We have a huge family and all want to celebrate together. What is wrong with laying our your tarp to save seats? There are so many people that come to the events on the 4th. Life is short! Worry about something else that is more important! Peachtree City rarely has community support for any events. This is the one event that makes me proud to live here. Don't take it away!!

Arrive at 6pm, have a little picnic with your huge family. Enjoy the lake, playground, fish a little, watch the sun set, enjoy conversation with people you haven't seen in a while.

But stop acting like a self centered, entitled brat because you have a big family. Its tacky driving down the road or cart path seeing the blankets and tarps laid out, even the day before the big event.

mudcat's picture

Since the tarp locations are on public property (owned by all of who live here and pay taxes), then we all should have a right to stand or sit on that property to watch the fireworks or anything else. For you to "save your place" hours or days ahead of a specific event deprives me and others from that space. That assumes you are a taxpayer and a resident.

Now, when you are getting that tarp out of your trunk look at the back of your car and if it has a Coweta County tag back there, just take your tarp and go home. You can come to the fireworks if you want and just stand there if there is room, but I don't think that a resident of another county should have a right to reserve a place in my city and deprive me of my space.

Solution to this and all the other problems associated with the tarps is solved by charging for permits. And yes, as someone suggested priority to veterans, seniors, handicapped, etc. but also residents. Might accomplish all this by having different color permits for different areas that accommodate a specific group. Or having the service organizations controlling the permits or just selling access to certain areas. There are plenty of good creative ideas floating around and even though we are 2 months away, nothing will be done this year, except the normal tendency of government to simply ban something and punish people.

But, if someone like Marine George Dienhart wanted to exhibit some leadership then council could appoint 5 or 6 people to a 4th of July Audience Committee who would observe this year's fiasco and fix it in time for next year. The service clubs could actually sell tickets and share revenue with the city.

Another idea is to eliminate tarps completely by just roping off certain areas and telling people to bring a chair or blanket when they show up. If each service organization had one area to control and one or two areas were left for people who didn't want to buy tickets - but no tarps there, it would work just fine.

Makes an awful lot of sense.

Liferfrom65's picture

Get (your tarps) off my lawn!!!

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